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Breaking News: Banned in Google

Timthumb  Vizion Interactive Reading Time: 6 minutes

Go ahead…search for “” on Google. You won’t find that domain. And, interestingly enough, you also won’t find their main domain/home page for the same search on Bing.
Here’s a little story about how that may have come to happen…

As many of you may know, I have been on a rant – for years – about the practices of
Here’s a rundown of some of my posts:

April 2007:
August 2008:
January 2010:

If you think I’m the only one writing about this, or considering these kinds of things, think again:

*I could have included many more references. has said that they review SEO firms to determine “the top SEO companies”, by interviewing clients/customers, etc.. As someone who used to participate in this scam (let’s call it was it is), when I was President of another SEO company, I can tell you that never once did anyone from TopSEOs ever reach out to our clients to so much as confirm that we even worked with them, much less whether or not we did SEO for them.

A few weeks ago, I received an anonymous email from someone claiming to have worked at They “had to leave” because the business practices of TopSEOs sickened them.

Here’s the email thread, in its entirety:

From: [Name Redacted] [mailto:[redacted]]
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2014 1:27 PM

To: Jackson, Mark
Hi Mark,
I hope you’re doing well. I’ve read with great interest your past articles regarding the fraud that is and I’m wondering if you’re curious to know any of their dirty little secrets because I know most if not all of them!
On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 2:32 PM, Jackson, Mark wrote
Pretty sure I know what’s what, but happy to listen to your story.
Whatcha got? (and please send me your Linkedin bio link, so I know “what I’m talking to”.

From: [Name Redacted} [mailto:[redacted]]
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2014 2:04 PM

To: Jackson, Mark
Subject: Re:
No LinkedIn bio, sorry Mark. This is obviously a fictional name and email, I have to somewhat protect my identity given my past experience with, I actually used to work for them in a [redacted] capacity for about [redacted] months until I quit because I couldn’t stand how badly they were ripping people off and flat out lying! I’m not even sure where to start but I know I would like to see that company and website burn to the ground! The only real threat to Jeev Trika and his business of fraudulent “ranking and review” websites is Google and he’s managed to dodge that bullet for quite some time. Like I said, not even sure where to start….

1-They write a TON of fake reviews, his new thing is reviews on the fly. Check out (one of his mini-sites) do you really think 50+ companies or people took the time to write reviews for Netmark and Boostability (his two biggest sources of revenue by the way) They keep most of the fake reviews and black hat SEO to the mini sites.

2-Scraping content and data, I know they have been accused of this in the past and it’s a common daily practice for them. Anytime they launch a new site his team in India will scrape content for it.
3-Stealing copyrighted content, yet another daily practice for them.
4-Press releases, yeah not much to say here, I’m sure you’ve seen the many, many, many, many releases they put out on a monthly basis. All produced in house and all CRAP!

5-The REAL shocker…they have NEVER EVER reviewed or evaluated a single company in their history! Yes, I’m sure you already know this but it’s such a blatant lie and very deceiving to the public in general and I just don’t get HOW he gets away with it! You don’t want to pay them a minimum of $1,000 per month, they will whack your company off the list or even worse make you like #96 or something.

Mark, I know you’ve utilized in the past and said you saw some ROI as a result but what you don’t know is how many companies have paid him thousands and thousands and got ZERO ROI! It’s just a money grab for him, look up the word greed in the dictionary and I’m sure you will see a picture of Jeev Trika next to it! He will squeeze you for every dime he can and when you decide you don’t want to pay anymore it’s on to the next sucker!!! Below is an incomplete list of websites he operates, all under the same model. I just wish I knew how or why he continues to get away with what amounts to robbery in my eyes, in addition to the fake facade of being a genuine independent third party review site, the biggest lie of them all!

So, along with this email, this person attached a document showing 86 advertisers using TopSEOs services. One of these, I actually know personally. So, I reached out…

Without naming names, I will tell you that this individual shared with me that they did, in fact, spend upwards of $15,000 per month on advertising on these sites. They agreed that there was never once anyone from TopSEOs or affiliated companies who reached out to any of their clients to confirm that they did business with them, and – keep in mind – they had been advertisers for several years. Why did they continue to do this? Well, as you might suspect, they got ROI…Leads. Bunches and bunches of leads and new business. For those looking for an “unbiased recommendation of an SEO firm”, these sites supposedly “answered the call” and provided what so many are looking for…an easy way to identify the good SEO companies amongst all of the smoke and mirrors or snake oil that does exist in our Industry.


While I had written many articles about my feelings with regard to TopSEOs, and others who provide these “top rankings”, I thought I’d try one last time to make a difference.
I forwarded the email thread to Matt Cutts.

While I cannot confirm (and will most assuredly never be able to confirm) that Matt took action, I can tell you that the timing is interesting on what happened next.

Search for any of the domains included above in Google. Gone.
Most ironically, Not exactly “visible” in Google, these days. But, you can see that Jeev is apparently trying to stay in front of this, by launching, which is in Google’s index; but not Bing’s. *BTW – it appears as if some of these other domains may be also experiencing issues with Bing. I haven’t taken the time to review each of them.

Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about a Bing Penalty, btw?? What animals might they “launch” related to “Bing Updates” that would be of interest for discussions in the trades? Since Google has apparently gone with the “P” animals (Panda, Penguin and Pigeon), I might recommend that Bing go with all of the awesome “O” animals such as Octopus, Oyster or Otter? Then, we can all say that sites suffering from penalties related to updates from Google and Bing would be “P.O.’d”.  *You can thank me later*.

But, I digress…
While I’m feeling a bit of relief that something good has happened for our Industry, I do not like that anyone has to be harmed from this. Certainly, anyone working for TopSEOs and its affiliates are harmed, the advertisers for these websites are undoubtedly not seeing the number of leads that they once did. New business won’t be coming in like it did before for these advertisers. Folks might lose jobs. I mean, that’s reality. And, being human, I don’t like that part of this. But, then again, how many jobs could have been added to other good SEO firms that were losing out on these opportunities because they refused to participate in the scam? I know that when I bootstrapped Vizion Interactive, it would have been a helluva lot easier getting things off the ground had I decided to “go soft” on my moral stance.
Truth is – it never should have come to this.

I wish that Jeev would have simply done the right thing, in the very beginning. Be honest. Perhaps you should have sold a service where you honestly reviewed/vetted SEO companies for individuals/other businesses. By misleading folks into believing that you were actually reviewing companies, you have done a lot of harm for this industry (while rewarding companies who simply paid to get leads/business; many of them VERY aware that there was never a review process…you simply rewarded those who were willing and able to spend the thousands of dollars per month it took to be “in your good graces”).

My bet is that Jeev is going to continue to develop new sites, perhaps purchase additional domains, and hope to keep his “business as usual” approach. My hope is that Matt (or whomever took this action) will continue to be diligent and help us remove these fake review sites, so that our Industry no longer has to contend with the “Top SEO Company” promotions from operators such as this.

Update: Jeev has apparently re-launched at
Update: We have been told that TopSEOs decided to shut down the booth at Pubcon.
Update: Jeev says “we’re not banned” on Search Engine Land
Thanks Ryan Jones for sending me this photo:

Breaking News: Banned in Google” Comments

  1. Aussiewebmaster

    good read

    • Thanks, Frank. We’ll see what the future holds.

  2. Scott

    Their main domain is redirecting to a splash page? You sure they aren’t just migrating their domain?

    • And why might they want to do this?

      • Seems like they are scrambling

  3. Okay. Really?!? got banned for fake reviews and telling lies.
    Google should ban half of the internet in this case.
    “Reputation management” , has Google ever heard of it?
    Most reviews or review sites online are fake. It’s a fact. Google needs to talk to people outside of the company more, if they really banned the guy for fake reviews and for telling lies. Somebody needs to burst their bubble.

  4. Okay. Really?!?
    They banned Topseos for fake reviews and telling lies?
    In that case Google needs to ban half of the internet.
    Has Google ever heard about reputation management? Most of the reviews and review sites online are fake. It’s a fact.
    Google needs to talk to people outside of the company more often. Somebody needs to burst their bubble.

    • I think having review via brand social identity can be the alternate option here

        • Simon – I think so, but it is far better or genuine as users may see this is being come from individual brand.
          But How you see this will also be easy to fake?

    • – another fake review site. They actually will write a few bad reviews, then start their cold calling process. I busted them since they tried on a hotel site which keeps records of guests names. The guest(s) never even stayed at the hotel….lol

  5. They’ve redirected it now Mark. Those are crazy numbers. Great post, sharing it on Google+ 🙂

  6. Doug Reader III

    The splash page is set to ‘noindex, nofollow’ which would explain why it’s not being indexed. If you look at any of their other properties (for example: you’ll see it’s being indexed just fine. I personally wouldn’t mind if their site disappeared from the face of the planet, but it doesn’t look like today is that day.

  7. Im a web developer and in my free time I try to run a legit review blog on web hosting companies in the UK. (since i ve been dealing with hosting companies for more than 8 years). And you got no idea how many SEO based reviews are there…almost everything on page one is trash. How iPage, HostGator or FatCow is good for your website in the UK? And if you look at the top 10, there is no UK based company or in the best case one or two. My point is customers got to learn to get their info with some common sense.

    • I like Consumer Reports for that reason, it’s behind a paywall so Google can’t index it, thus no actual value to SEO (in the literal sense).

  8. Guest

    Were you a client of when you ran Zunch? Could this be a case of sour grapes because you are not on the list anymore?

    • Sour grapes? Hell. No. Read my post from 2007 – I’m not shy about the fact that I was once the President of another company (that I choose not to name, very often, because of differences in moral character with those “in charge” over there; I’ll leave others to comment on them) and this other company did – in fact – participate in these programs. In fact, we were “the top client” for them, for quite some time. And, it worked. And, that is why I am well aware of their practices. When I bootstrapped Vizion Interactive (9 years ago), I elected NOT to participate, even knowing that it would be the easy road to generating some business. The sole reason for my pursuit of this matter is the fact that many folks are unsuspecting and have no idea that this “unbiased review company” does no research, whatsoever. They are inclined to believe what they read. And, again, I am FAR from the only person who feels this way. Read those links above.
      I’m not happy that there may be people who are hurt by what has transpired. But, I also know that our Industry has been harmed, for many years. Too many people signed up with firms that they were told were “the top” in their trade, only to be burned by empty promises and no results. Then, you get people saying “SEO doesn’t work”.
      Our Industry has done a lot to legitimize the practice of SEO. Today’s SEO is a very sophisticated and complicated multi-channel approach to marketing/optimization of marketing, and the optimization of ROI. This news should help those who have been genuinely practicing SEO “the right way”, and help those prospects out there to find firms who have a moral compass. IMO, those who participated in these paid listings fell short in this area.

      • Don’t feed the trolls brother. Especially a Guest Troll. You did a good thing by sharing this, and I’ve felt as you have about this for ages. The Better Business Bureau has been accused of similar practices, where it is pay to play, and if you stop paying, even if you have no complaints, they remove your listing or downgrade you. That is unethical, as it misleads the consumer that those listed are reviewed organically as opposed to their being paid “advertisers” essentially.
        TopSEOs is pretty blatant though, I’ve never fallen for it, but I can see how only those who pay big bucks see any kind of return while others are just pissing money into the wind. This was a win for the industry – don’t let anyone tell you different.

      • Guest

        Did you complain about topseos when your company Zunch was being ranked?

  9. Wow. I remember looking into Top SEO ‘ S a few years ago. They offered to sell us the top spot for $15,000 PLUS 20% of the revenue on all business sent our way. We showed then the door…

  10. Ah what a joy this was to read. Thank you Mark 🙂 You made my day. I despise Top SEOs and it is wonderful to see them scrambling. I hate to think the people at the top of the Canadian list might be paying them… I would lose some respect for them if it were the case.

  11. This is crazy awesome news. Totally made my Friday to read this as I sat down at my desk. Always knew they were crooked, but like to see Google take action!

  12. It is true they are banned, All their domains are banned. I was the first to blog about this Check here I also have a screen shot from fighting spam page showing evidence they were actually penalized.
    May be the URL is to show they are not banned to the customers whom they charged 1000s of dollars. it is time to close down scam SEO related businesses. We don’t want them on-line.

  13. Ellan Musk

    Sounds like you have a bone to pick or might be hawking for one of their competitors. Curious as to why you don’t bring up when they’re doing the same thing, and show up number one for all the terms topseos does/did. Sounds like sour grapes towards 1 of many that all do the same thing.

  14. Ellan Musk

    Mark Jackson, silencing critics by deleting comments all while claiming the he’s on the high road. What a joke.

    • Hey Ellan, no comments were deleted just pending. It’s my job to approve the comments and I’ve just gone through and approved them all. Sorry for the delay.

  15. Ellan Musk

    Are you going to write articles about doing the same thing?

    • Unless I’m mistaken, it appears that this site is – now – also banned?

  16. Arnie Kuenn

    I heard about this at Pubcon. Finally looked up this post and read it. I will be heading home for a 3-day weekend shortly – with a big, fat smile on my face!!

  17. Great article and persistence on this subject!
    Nobody mentioned the fact how topseos scrapes the internet and creates profiles for would-be SEO firms. I discovered this a few years back, when one day I received an email that invited me to “claim” my profile at and to complete the profile details. I never went there and created this profile – it just appeared. A little “green” back then, I obliged. I subsequently discovered (via Penguin, Panda) that my profile on topseos was affecting my rankings so I tried to remove the profile. It was a nightmare to have it removed, to say the least…
    I recently discovered that they also created a profile at (add that to your list above) and I am still working on having that profile removed. Not very easy…
    Glad to say I never was a part of this scam – albeit, despite having a business profile there for a short period of time…

  18. Rick Modi

    It was great news, I kept wondering how come such websites don’t get penalized now it is. I see several company’s listed on TOPSEOS were not well equipped to manage the kind of projects they show they can do, another thing the annual turnover figures listed was scam.

  19. Kalu Charan Parida

    What a excitement tragedy…. Do good SEO otherwise get kicked out from the internet by Google…

  20. Wow! I have half written a blog article about TopSEOs. As an SEO company we are of course keen to be seen as a ‘Top SEO’ so I emailed them. Part of their response was:
    Thank you for your recent
    application for ranking on www.
    we would be interested in highlighting your company as a leading agency in our
    SEO/PPC rankings and as a result of your ranking with us it will generate
    quality, targeted, relevant lead opportunities for you from potential clients
    seeking these services. Your company would quality for top placement in our
    rankings which will drive leads, provide branding value and if used properly
    improve your own sales conversion ratios. Our custom lead generation solutions
    start at $1,000-$2,000 USD per month and go up from there based on a number of
    So of course its a paid service and I can’t say anything about the other SEO companies who are listed on there (and probably get business from there) because that would not be appropriate.
    Clearly they just pay to be listed there and whether they are any good at SEO is pretty much irrelevant.
    The big issue is that they were lying. They didn’t tell prospective SEO customers that those listed had paid for that listing. That’s the issue for me.
    So anyway, I’m glad that they are not in Google anymore. It was just one BIG lie.

  21. Vincent Granville

    There are lies, damn lies, and Amazon reviews. I guess we can add TopSEOs reviews to the list now. They are not worth being listed on my website, which ironically, is not banned on Google.

  22. KristinPlaidShirt

    this is AWESOME! SO glad to hear they are finally blacklisted. :woohoo!:

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